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$950,000 Homes in North Carolina, California and Vermont

This house with its wide wraparound porch and water views was designed by Herbert Woodley Simpson, who built many of New Bern’s elegant homes. It is in a historic district, within walking distance of downtown and a block from the Neuse River, which feeds into the Atlantic Ocean. Raleigh is about two hours northwest.

Size: 4,059 square feet

Price per square foot: $234

Indoors: The front door opens into a remarkably large foyer with a gas-burning fireplace (you could stash a grand piano there). To the right is a front parlor, also with a fireplace. The parlor flows into a dining room that includes a built-in credenza and cabinets and a crystal chandelier. All three rooms have hardwood floors and lofty windows with their original glass, and can be closed off with pocket doors.

A second sitting room (originally the dining room) is behind the front staircase in the foyer. It has a fireplace, as well. This room connects to an eat-in kitchen with a herringbone brick floor, white cabinets with quartz countertops, subway-tile backsplashes, a farmhouse sink and Thermador appliances. Also beyond the staircase is a bathroom with linen wallcovering and a shower.

Up the curving front staircase is a second-floor landing big enough to hold gym equipment and not obstruct the paths to the bedrooms. There are three on this level. The primary suite includes a gas-burning fireplace, a minutely organized trio of closets and a marble-tiled bathroom with ornately patterned wallpaper, a stand-alone bathtub and a walk-in shower. A second suite is almost as grand, although the fireplace is decorative and the bathroom can be entered from the bedroom or the hallway. The third bedroom has been recently used as an office. A former sewing room at the top of the stairs is now a laundry room.

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Orient, N.Y.: A Historic Hamlet With a Low-Key Reputation

Orient, the land’s-end hamlet on the North Fork of Long Island, usually goes quiet from November to April. Not this year. The lights were on all winter in its centuries-old waterfront village, and in the farmhouses and more suburban-style developments off Main Road.

Peter Marren, a Manhattan-based architect, began vacationing with his family in Orient more than 20 years ago, after a chance bicycle ride through farmland and along beaches that reminded him of Marin County, in California. Mr. Marren became an “accidental resident,” as he put it, when the coronavirus swept through New York. He has also found himself working locally on some renovations.

Greenport, five miles west.

Orient Beach State Park, a 363-acre finger of land that extends into Gardiners Bay and crooks back toward Shelter Island, is a destination for kayakers, cyclists, fishermen, picnickers and water birds, including ospreys, egrets and herons. Parking at smaller beaches is limited to those with Southold parking stickers.

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Orient residents can be as fiercely protective of their natural surroundings as they are of the area’s history. A farmland preservation program has kept hundreds of acres free from development, funded by a 2 percent transfer tax on any real estate transaction. In the early 1980s, local activists beat back a proposal for condominiums near the ferry terminal. That land is now Orient Point County Park, with views from its waterfront trail of Orient Point Lighthouse, known as the Coffee Pot.

a solution to easing traffic in New York City and increasing development in Suffolk County. The 25-mile span was to be an island-hopping combination of suspension bridges and causeways over Plum Island, Great Gull Island and Fishers Island, to a terminus somewhere along the Connecticut-Rhode Island coast. An extension of the Long Island Expressway from Riverhead to Orient was a key element of the plan.

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Gardening Columnist Margaret Roach Thinks Beyond the Plant

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

The end of March signals the beginning of spring and warmer days. For Margaret Roach, who writes the In the Garden column for The New York Times’s Real Estate section, it also means it is time for the first plantings of the season — peas. A former garden editor for Newsday and editorial director for Martha Stewart Living, Ms. Roach has been providing gardening advice to readers stuck at home for the past year. In an interview, she spoke from her home in Columbia County, N.Y., about how gardening has shaped her life and how she hopes to share that with others. Here are edited excerpts.

How did you first get into gardening?

In my mid-20s, my father had died and my mother, who was about 49 at the time, got early-onset Alzheimer’s. Since she was a widow, I came home to Douglaston, Queens, to manage the situation and I ended up getting a job as a “copy girl” at The Times at night and caring for her during the day. Someone thankfully gave me a James Underwood Crockett book, a companion to the PBS show “Crockett’s Victory Garden,” as a gift, and I just started doing everything in the book.

What did you take away from that experience?

It was occupational therapy. I had to be near my mother, but I could be digging in the front yard or pruning. So my initial connection with gardening was refuge. That was what did it for me — with the imprint of my grandmother Marion, who was a great gardener.

go out in the dark to attract moths to my bird passion to hard-core horticulture specialty nurseries. I like all those sides. I know how far apart to space tomatoes and how deep to plant a tulip bulb, and I try to layer that into every story and to have things that are beautiful, but also to ask: What’s going on here? Why does this happen?

I want to encourage people to dig into the whole garden, because it offers everything — it offers a lens into the food web, to the story of evolution and adaptation among species.

How do you come up with ideas for your column?

The season is the first tip. I also tap people who have taught me about gardening for decades. I was a college dropout, studying English at the time, and I didn’t even know there was horticulture or botany. I learned to be a journalist by coming to work at The Times, and so I retrofitted it and took my journalism skills — research, reporting, interviewing, listening carefully — and applied them to writing about gardening. I still come at it like I did when I first started.

Tell us about your garden.

I have about two acres on a steep hillside. That means nothing about it is linear — it’s more curvaceous and undulating. Most of the property is naturalistic, not formal. I have a meadow above the house that I think is the most beautiful part, and two in-ground water gardens that are the most attractive and active gardens for wildlife. About 70 species of birds come into the garden each year. That’s the stuff that interests me.

I grow some things to eat, stuff that is special, like snap peas that you’re just going to pop in your mouth and heirloom varieties of green beans, stuff that is beyond belief when you do it yourself. Otherwise I’ll buy from my organic farmer friends just down the road and all around here.

What are you looking forward to this spring?

As happens when you’ve been gardening in a place for a long time, you have to right your wrongs; you have to face some of the stuff that doesn’t work, is out of shape or was just always a bad idea. The garden is way too big and way too much, so it’s more about serious editing and taking a long look.

Like every single person, I have lawn repair. The voles had a field day this winter. Just because you have expertise doesn’t save you from the same stuff as everyone else.

Spring migration quickens the pace for me. All of the sudden it’s, “Oh my goodness, look who’s back!” And seeing birds like the American redstart, which fans its black and orange tail out, or the Northern waterthrush, which bobs the rear of its body as if doing some dance move, delights me. I feel thrilled when I see things like that.

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February 2021 NAR SentriLock Home Showings Report

The new February 2021 NAR SentriLock Home Showings Report indicates that there was an increase in nationwide foot traffic on a month-over-month basis. Nationally, Sentrilock home showings were down 1% year-over-year. Sentrilock showings were 792,559 in February 2021, down from the 804,591recorded in February 2020. Showings rose in the West region, but declined in the Midwest, South and Northeast regions, according to data from SentriLock, LLC, a lockbox company. Total U.S. SentriLock cards rose 16% year-over-year to 212,094. At a national level, showings per card decreased 15% year-over-year.

Line graph: Percent Year Over Year Change in U.S. SentriLock SentriKey® Showings, January 2009 to January 2021
Line graph: Historical U.S. Sentrilock Sentrikey® Showings, January 2008 to January 2021

The Northeast Region recorded a -36% y/y percent change in showings

Northeast region year-over-year showings for February represent an 36% decrease. Sentrilock cards increased from the prior month to 10,245 in February 2021.

Line graph: Northeast Region Year Over Year Percent Change in Sentrilock Sentrikey® Showings, January 2009 to January 2021

The Midwest Region showings decreased 24% y/y

Midwest Region showings decreased 24% year-over-year in January. The Midwest totaled 203,958 showings in February.

Line graph: Midwest Region Year Over Year Percent Change in Sentrilock Sentrikey® Showings, January 2009 to January 2021

The South Region showings decreased 15% y/y

The Southern Region recorded 248,481 showings in February, down from the prior month and represents a 15% decrease on a year-over-year basis.

Line graph: South Region Year Over Year Percent Change in Sentrilock Sentrikey® Showings, January 2009 to January 2021

West Region showings increased 45% y/y

The West Region recorded a 45% year-over-year increase in showings. Showings increased to 328,534 in February.

Line graph: West Region Year Over Year Percent Change in Sentrilock Sentrikey® Showings, January 2009 to January 2021

View and download the full report.

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